One can briefly excuse the anti-LGBT tastelessness of “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” for it being a product of a pre-2015 Supreme Court ruling/post-“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” society. 2007 was closer to the 20th century than it is to 2018, and while things weren’t as flamboyantly intolerant as Adam Sandler and Kevin James would like you to think, that year was still a few rungs down on the civil rights and acceptance ladder from where we are now.
Even with this movie’s era in proper, purple context, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” is still inexcusable for its preposterous premise and tactless humor that is better suited to the walls of a middle school bathroom stall than in a major Hollywood screenplay. This is a movie inspired by fear that also feeds on our own, with the entire plot contrived around someone worrying that something might happen, not that something will happen.
That misplaced sense of worry is what keeps Kevin James’ character, Larry Valentine, up in the middle of the night. Very much a carbon copy of his sitcom stooges from “King of Queens” and “Kevin Can Wait” Larry is wary of his children’s future should his firefighting duties take his life or Leah Remini shows up. He tries to up his life insurance, but clerical ballyhoo keeps his need for safety at bay. Based on a random suggestion from a bizarre woman he just met, Larry decides to “marry” his philandering, fire friend Chuck, because that will solve all the things.
The couple’s honeymoon is cut short by suspicions their marriage is fraudulent, carried out by a government worker played by the Steve Buscemi-esque Steve Buscemi. Chuck and Larry hire sexy, hopelessly naive lawyer Alex McDonough (Jessica Biel) to represent them. Then for forty or so minutes, every character who isn’t gay throws their best homophobic insults at the pair, and Alex makes Chuck feel her boobs because…gay?
Dave Matthews is also in the movie.
You wouldn’t think after watching “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” that you’d say, “Wow, the guy who made ‘Election’ and the dean from ‘Community’ somehow wrote this.” But this film is an interesting exercise in how damaging it can be to say “those were the times” when encountered with intolerant pop culture of yesteryear. It makes one wonder if we will look back on movies from 2018 and think “wow, we were really messed up back in the tens.”
But it’s also important to distinguish between a legitimate threat to society and culture than an overblown fart joke from some hot air millionaires. “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” is the latter, a film that was recognized as garbage even in its own time, and whose foul stench sadly continues to permeate into our rotten era.